Can A Herniated Spine Cause Muscle Spasms To The Leg?

Herniated Spine Cause Muscle Spasms To The Leg

A herniated, or lumbar ruptured disc (lumbar ruptured disc) is a common cause of leg and lower back pain. A herniated or ruptured disc may cause dull or acute pain, muscle spasms, cramping, sciatica and weakness. It is common for the pain to intensify by coughing, wheezing, and/or bending.

Rarely, bladder or bowel control is lost. **Sciatica** can be a sign of a lumbar herniated or bulging disc. A pressure on one or more sciatic nerves can cause burning, tingling or pain. The affected side is usually either the left or right.

Anatomy: Normal Lumbar Intervertebral Disc

Here’s a quick overview to help you better understand the anatomy of your spine.

Between the 5 lumbar spines (bones), is a disc. This is a tough fibrous shock-absorbing material. Endplates are used to hold individual discs in position at the ends of each vertebra. Annulus fibrosus, a tire-like outer band that covers a disc’s gel-like substance (nucleus pilosus), is what holds it in place.

The annulus fibrous can crack or break open, allowing the nucleus pulsus to escape. This is called disc herniation. This is sometimes called a herniated or herniated nucleus pulposus. It can also be called a bulging or ruptured disc.

A herniated disc can press on the spine or spinal nerves. To help you feel or move, nerves branch out from your spinal cord all along your spine. A herniated disc can push into the nerve’s passageways, compressing it or “pinching” it. It can lead to pain from herniated or bulging discs.

Lumbar Herniated Disc Risk Factors

The risk of disc herniation can be increased by many factors:

  • Poor disc health is directly related to lifestyle choices like smoking and poor nutrition.
  • Natural biochemical changes in the body age discs, which can result in disc strength and resilience decreasing. Also, as the body ages, intervertebral discs may become less capable of absorbing the shocks of your movements.
  • Poor posture combined with the habitual use of incorrect body mechanics, stress the lumbar spinal column and reduce its ability to support the body’s weight.
  • Combining these factors with injuries, wear and tear, incorrect lifting and twisting can make it easy to see why a disc might herniate. An example of disc pressure that can rise to several hundred lbs per square inch is incorrect lifting.

How A Disc Herniates

A herniation might occur suddenly, gradually over time, or it may happen over several months. Here are the 4 stages of a herniated spine:

  • Disc degeneration: The discs become weaker due to chemical changes as a result of aging, but they don’t herniate.
  • Prolapse refers to a disc that has changed in its shape and position due to some impingement into the spinal canal, spinal nerves, or both. This stage is sometimes called a bulging, protruding or protruding disc.
  • Extrusion: The gel-like nucleus pilosus (the tire-like wall) breaks through the disc’s disc but remains inside the disc.
  • Sequestration or Sequestered disc: The nucleus poplu breaks through the annulus fibrosus, and can then move outside the intervertebral Disc.

Diagnosis of Lumbar Herniated Disc

There are many symptoms that can be caused by a herniated spine. Many people discover a bulging disc, herniated disc after an x ray. Most patients will seek medical care if they have symptoms, and especially pain. A physical exam and neurological exam are usually part of a visit with a doctor. He or she may also review your medical history and inquire about your pain relief experiences and symptoms.

For other causes of back pain like osteoarthritis (spondylosis), and spondylolisthesis, a xray may be necessary. A CT scan or MRI scan will confirm the extent and location of disc damage. Sometimes, a myelogram might be necessary. You will receive a dye injection. This will enable your doctor to better see the problem areas.

Lumbar Disc Herniation – Non-surgical Treatment

The doctor may recommend cold treatment and medication for the first injury. The first 24 to 48 hours of cold therapy help to reduce swelling, muscle spasms, and pain through reducing blood flow. Ice or cold should not be applied directly to the skin. Wrap the ice pack in a towel and leave it on for no more than 15 minutes.

The medication may include an anti-inflammatory that reduces swelling, a muscle relaxant that calms spasms, and a painkiller to relieve intense, short-lasting pain (acute).Non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can be used to manage mild-to-moderate pain. They work by relieving pain and swelling.

Talk to your physician before taking any of the above medications. Heat therapy can usually be applied within the first 48 hours. Heat therapy uses heat to increase blood flow to warm or relax soft tissue. In order to flush out any toxins that might accumulate due to muscle spasms or injury to the intervertebral disc, increased blood flow is beneficial. Heat should not be applied directly to the skin. Instead, wrap the heat source tightly in a towel for 20 minutes.

Spinal Injection

The doctor may recommend an epidural injection for severe leg pain and/or leg weakness. An epidural-steroid injection delivers anti-inflammatory medication to the area of the affected nerves. Before starting this treatment, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor.

Physical Therapy

The doctor may recommend physical therapy. The prescriptions of the doctor are sent to physical therapists. Physical therapy may include a combination or combination of therapies to help with flexibility and pain. Some examples of physical therapy include ice and heat therapy, gentle massaging, stretching, and pelvic pressure. Your physical therapist will also work with you to find the best treatment plan for your pain.

The good news is: Most patients are able to relieve their symptoms without the need for surgery within 4 to 6.

Lumbar Herniated Disc Surgery

If other treatments do not alleviate the symptoms, it is worth considering spine surgery. Additional evaluation is necessary for chronic pain, leg weakness or loss function. Rarely, a lumbar herniated spine can cause bowel/bladder problems or groin/genital numbness. This needs immediate medical attention.

Ask your surgeon about the reason for the surgery and what you can expect. Be sure to read the entire recommendation and get another opinion from a spine surgeon. This is a huge decision and you shouldn’t rush to make it.

A discectomy (removal all or part) is performed in order to relieve nerve pressure, leg pain, and other symptoms. Additionally, the surgeon may have to access herniated discs by removing a portion of the bone that surrounds the nerve. This procedure is called laminotomy.

These procedures can often only be done using minimally invasive techniques. Minimally invasive surgery for spine does not require incisions large enough. Instead, the surgeon uses very small incisions and tiny specialized devices and instruments like an endoscope or microscope to make the operation more efficient.

Can you Prevent a Lumbar Herniated Disc

As we said earlier, aging is the most common reason for a bulging lumbar disc. What does this mean? It is not. Yes. There are many factors you can control. For example, to maintain a healthy spine, watch your posture and eat well. All of these steps won’t prevent you from getting a lumbar disc herniation, but they are good things to do in order to prevent lower back discomfort caused by a herniated spine.

Your Spine and Your Nerves

Spinal discs are shock absorbers that connect vertebrae. They have a hard outer layer (the annulus fibrosus), which covers a soft and jelly-like core (the nucleus pulposus). Damaged discs can cause bulging and irritation of nearby spinal nerves. In more severe cases the annulus can tear or weaken, allowing the nucleus material out. This can cause spinal cord compression or spinal nerves to become compressed. These may cause them to stop functioning properly and send abnormal signals to and from the brain.

The most common lower back injuries are in the lumbar region. This is five vertebrae close to the base.1 (Healthcare providers categorize them as L1 throughL5. An injury to this region of the spine may cause severe pain. This is because it can result in irritation to the sciatic nerve which runs from lower spine down to legs. It is the largest peripheral nerve, connecting the brain and spine to the rest. In herniated discs, there are usually several causes, including obesity/obesity, trauma and a lack of conditioning (sedentary lifestyle).

Pain And Its Related Symptoms

The most common sign of a herniation is low back pain. This can be caused by nerve irritation, muscle spasm or inflammation.

Radiculopathy can also be caused by abnormal nerve signals. Radiculopathy is a condition that causes abnormal signaling of the nerves.

  • Electric shock pain: The sensation of electric shock can be caused by nerve pressure. For lumbar herniations the shocks travel down one or both legs.
  • Tingling and/or Numbness: Patients can experience abnormal sensations such tingling, numbness, pins & needles down one leg or both.
  • Muscle weakness. Nerve signals from your brain could be interrupted, causing weakness in the lower body.
  • Bowel or bladder issues: These symptoms could indicate cauda, a rare condition that is caused by a herniated disc between the L5 and the L1 vertebrae.

Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you are experiencing back/leg pain, numbness or problems with urinating and bowel movements. This is a medical emergency.

Severe Cases

A herniated spinal disc may cause spinal cord compression.

  • Balance problems or difficulties walking
  • Apparent clumsiness/dropping items
  • Weakness in the arms or legs or cramping
  • Difficulty writing, picking up small items, or any other fine-motor tasks
  • Bladder problems or bowel dysfunction
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